All You Need To Know About Gold Jewellery

Quality materials are really important to us but some jewellery terms can be confusing so we thought we'd share a little more on the differences between solid gold jewellery, filled jewellery and plated jewellery. We've also got some tips on how to care for your jewellery too. Enjoy!

Gold bumblebee coin necklace

What is the difference between solid gold, gold vermeil, gold plated and gold filled jewellery?

Gold plated jewellery usually has a base metal of brass with a flash plating of gold over the top. This allows the jewellery to remain lower priced but the thin layer of gold can wear away quickly leaving a metal that has a high likelihood of reacting with your skin, we all remember those rings we had as a teenager that turned our fingers green!

Gold filled jewellery is made by fusing a layer of gold to the surface of a piece of base metal jewellery. The mechanism of fusing the gold to the metal means the finish lasts longer than flash plated jewellery.

All of our jewellery is vermeil plated. To be called vermeil a plating must be at least 2.5 microns thick and be plated over sterling silver. Vermeil jewellery gives you the piece of mind that your gold plating is of at least a specific thickness and that the jewellery is not made from a reactive base metal. In the UK vermeil plating tends to be between 18 and 24ct gold.

Solid gold is measured in carats, pure gold is 24ct and is usually considered too soft a metal for every day wear jewellery. In the UK most precious jewellery is made from 9 and 18ct gold. The higher the carat of the gold the richer the buttery yellow colour as other alloys are added to the metal increasing its structural integrity but affecting the colour.

We value quality materials but we also believe that jewellery doesn’t have to be very expensive, that’s why we choose to make our collection pieces from vermeil plated sterling silver, you get the look of solid gold jewellery, the benefit of a thick plating of gold at a fraction of the price of solid gold jewellery. If taken care of vermeil jewellery can last a really long time and we also offer a cleaning and re-plating service. Just pop us a message to find out more.

Is vermeil plate a good choice for jewellery?

Gold vermeil plating will not peel, flake or turn your skin green like some base metals do. Our vermeil jewellery looks and feels like solid gold jewellery. With good care vermeil jewellery can last for years and years. Vermeil plated jewellery can also be re-plated so your jewellery really can last a life time.

How to care for vermeil jewellery

Gold vermeil is a thick layer of gold over sterling silver. Over time this layer can wear away but with good care you can prolong the life of your jewellery.

It’s best to remove your jewellery when applying creams and lotions as product build up can dull the look of vermeil plating and gemstones.

Gold vermeil can and does wear away over time. The time this takes depends on frequency of wear and skin acidity. As the gold wears you may start to see the silver underneath the plating.

This is normal and to be expected with heavy wear, don't worry, we offer a repairs and reconditioning service, pop us a message to find out more.

How should I store vermeil jewellery?

We recommend storing your jewellery in the box you receive it in to avoid other jewellery tangling with it or scratching against it. Gold vermeil jewellery can tarnish if left out in the air for long periods of time so it’s always a good idea to keep your jewellery dry and away from strong sunlight. Tangled chains are always such a nightmare to un-knot so fasten your chains and you can always pop necklaces in individual plastic zip lock pouches.

How can I prevent damaging my vermeil plate jewellery?

We want your jewellery to stay as sparkly as the day you got it so follow these steps to keep it looking as good as possible.

Make sure to remove your vermeil jewellery when you shower or swim, chlorine can have a detrimental reaction with precious metals and soap build up can dull the shine of your jewellery.

Take off your jewellery when you sleep, exercise and are doing any manual activity like cleaning, DIY and gardening. Tough manual labour can scratch, catch or bend your jewellery, I always recommend asking yourself if you’d wear your favourite dress to do the activity. If the answer is “no” then pop your jewellery off!

How should I clean vermeil jewellery?

Gold vermeil jewellery shouldn’t naturally tarnish if you store it correctly but, over time, gold vermeil can lose its shine from everyday wear. We recommend periodically gently wiping your jewellery with a soft jewellery cloth, be delicate with your rubbing as being too heavy handed can remove the plating.

A good way to spruce up vermeil jewellery with gemstones is to use a very soft toothbrush with a small amount of dish soap, gently wash the metal and gemstones to remove any build up from daily wear. Make sure your jewellery is completely dry before storing as water can leave stains on the surface of the metal.

How long will gold vermeil jewellery last?

Gold vermeil plating is resilient, but is does require you to look after your jewellery. Depending on frequency of wear and skin acidity the plating can last for years and years.

We make jewellery to be enjoyed and worn every day so don’t bee to precious with how often you wear your pieces. As long as you are thoughtful about removing your jewellery when doing manual tasks or when it may come in to contact with chemicals you should be OK. We offer a re-plating and reconditioning service for all Rachel Whitehead Jewellery so if your vermeil plating has worn away we can always bring your jewellery back to it’s former shiny glory, just get in contact to find out more.